Children from birth through age 3 seated in the center rear have a 43 percent lower risk of injury than those in rear-seat side positions, according to a recently published analysis of data from the Partners for Child Passenger Safety (PCPS) project of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Why should my child ride in the center?
A national study of actual crashes shows that a child in the center has about half the likelihood of being injured, compared to a child on either side. The center position is farthest from any point of impact.
How can I decide which of my children to place in a side position?
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A (SBS USA) collaborates with Toyota/Lexus on a program to provide tether anchor kits and installation for families with pre-2001 Toyota and Lexus models. Dealers throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska (not Hawaii) honor certificates from SBS USA for the tether kit and installation. The certificates can be obtained through SBS USA by sending in an application that includes the VIN and information about the children to be transported, along with a voluntary donation of $5 or more per anchor. Highway safety or child safety organizations can have a supply of certificates to fill out with families in need at checkup events. The donations help defray administrative costs of SBS USA. Information about the program and applications are available on the SBS USA website in English and Spanish.
On February 28, 2008, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was signed, which requires the Department of Transportation to issue regulations with the goal of reducing non-traffic injury and death to children in and around vehicles.
The new law is applicable to all light motor vehicles and focuses on three areas: power-window safety, rearward visibility, and vehicle roll-away prevention. Auto makers will be required to include features to meet new performance standards and can draw from technologies that already exist on some current models.
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not keep data on how often passengers are injured by loose items in vehicles, such as unsecured booster seats, these injuries do occur. Two such incidents made headlines in Wisconsin in the past couple years. While not fatally injured, both victims still suffer from lingering effects due to their injuries.
Airbag dangers for younger children include mishaps that occur in parked vehicles. A six-year-old Pennsylvania child was critically injured by an airbag in April 2007. She and her three-year-old brother were playing in the front seat in the family’s parked SUV when the vehicle popped into gear and rolled down a hill into a house, causing the airbag to deploy. The mother was charged with endangering the welfare of her children and reckless endangerment.
While relatively few children are driven by teenage drivers, those young passengers are three times more likely to be injured than those driven by adults. Children riding with teens are often not correctly buckled up and more children under age 13 ride in the front seat.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that one in every four deaths in crashes of children under age 15 is related to alcohol use. The data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System about crash-related child passenger deaths during the years 1997 to 2002 were analyzed.